Getting a Schengen Visa every time you want to plan your vacation, despite living in a European country can be a real pain. I live in Ireland, which is an EU country. However, it is not a part of Schengen borderless area. Being an Indian passport holder, I have to get a Schengen visa (Type C tourist visa) every time I want to fly to another destination in Europe. I frequently encounter people who would ask me ”Can I travel to Europe with Irish Residence Permit?” Hence, I decided to write this blog post.
Note: You can get Schengen Multi Entry Visa for 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, 3 years, or 5 years. However, there are several terms and conditions associated with obtaining the 1 year or longer visas.
So, in this article I have listed down 10 European countries you can travel with Irish Residence Permit and Indian passport. You don’t need a Schengen visa for these countries if you have Irish Residence Permit (IRP).
When I told my Irish colleagues that I am going to Serbia, they exclaimed ”But there is a war going there.”. Two of them thought I am going to Syria and a few others thought Siberia in Russia.
Even the people in Europe, especially in Western Europe have very little idea of Serbia or its majestic history. Just 30 years ago (1992), Serbia used to be a part of what was known as ”Yugoslavia” then. India was a very strong strategic ally of Yugoslavia. Together, India and Yugoslavia, started the Non-Alignment Movement (NAM).
Serbia was the heart and soul of Yugoslavia. Due to historic relationships with Yugoslavia, Serbia allowed visa free entry to Indian passport holders in 2017.
You can travel to Serbia with just an Indian passport for 30 days for the purpose of tourism. You don’t even need a Schengen visa or Irish Residence Permit (IRP).
Do you know that there is a town in Serbia caled Indija (‘India’) in Vojvodina province? You can watch the full story of this here on YouTube.
Serbia (or Srbija) is neither a member of European Union (EU) nor Schengen borderless area. It’s official currency is Serbian Dinar (or RSD). 1 Euro is roughly equivalent to 120 RSD. If you are travelling from Ireland, you would find Serbia really cheap.
What is so amazing about Serbia is the number of English speakers in the country. Everyone I talked to on the streets of Belgrade or even in the restaurants could speak in English. The public transport is amazing too. The 24 hour pass for buses and trams costs less than €3.
Here are 10 reasons to visit Serbia with an Indian Passport.
Montenegro is blessed with beautiful mountains, gorgeous beaches and sea. It’s one of the cheapest Mediterranean countries to visit in Europe. It is cheaper than in Croatia, Greece, and Italy and it is worth every dime.
If you have an Indian passport and a residence permit of any EU country not just the Schengen countries like Ireland, Romania and Bulgaria, you can visit Montenegro without a visa.
I took a train from Belgrade in Serbia to Bar in Montenegro. It is one of the most scenic train journeys in Europe after Switzerland and Italy. As I have mentioned before, I had my Indian passport and Irish residence permit. My passport was stamped twice during the train journey, once on the Serbian side of the border and again on the Montenegrin side.
Here is a YouTube video from my trip to the Kotor Old Town.
A 2 bedroom apartment in Budva, Montenegro cost me €25/night or nearly INR 2000/night. I visited this Balkan country in April, 2022. The prices may go up to €35/night in the peak tourist season in July and August.
The official currency of Montenegro is Euro, although it’s not in the EU or Schengen. The food is cheap and the hospitality of the people is amazing. So, you can travel with Irish Residence Permit to Montenegro and enjoy the Mediterranean Sea.
Note: Make sure to book the flights with the same PNR/same ticket if you have to transit through a European country where you would need a visa to transit.
Another blog post is coming up on how to plan your itinerary for a trip to Serbia and Montenegro from Ireland. Stay tuned!
4. Bosnia and Herzegovina
You can travel with Irish Residence Permit to Moldova. Moldova is the poorest and the least visited country in Europe. However, if you want to enjoy luxurious saunas, massages, and drinks at a cheaper rate, you should visit Moldova.
I haven’t been to Moldova. However, there is one video from ”Yes Theory” that really changed my perspective about the country. The song ”Numa Numa” used to be at the top of my playlist as a teenager and the singer Dan Balan is from Moldova. I have been to Romania, its neighboring country and I enjoyed it! So, I have enough reasons to travel to this country in the near future.
Here is the video from ”Yes Theory” about Moldova.
8. North Macedonia
I was fascinated with Belarus after I came across the YouTube vlogs of ”Mithilesh Backpacker”. Belarus may be in a dictatorship, but it’s nevertheless an interesting and beautiful place to visit. You don’t need a visa to enter Belarus if you have an Indian passport and a residence permit of any EU country.
Note: You can also visit Belarus if you have a multiple entry or double entry Schengen visa along with your Indian passport.
Here is a vlog post from Mithilesh Backpacker’s YouTube channel.
You can travel to Belarus for 30 days without a visa with just your Indian passport if you have the following:
- Financial means of at least 32 Belarusian Roubles per day or roughly INR 1000/day. Coming from an EU country shouldn’t be a hassle for you.
- Medical travel insurance with a coverage of €10,000 valid in Belarus
- Multi-entry Schengen Visa or Residence Permit of any EU country like Ireland
- Plane tickets confirming the departure from Minsk National Airport within 30 days after entry
It is important to note that your entry and exit should be from the Minsk Airport only. You can get more information on this from the Official Website of the Republic of Belarus.